KARACHI: After a long journey of turbulence in going through legal matters, CM Pak (Zong) finally obtained a Long Distance International (LDI) licence on Thursday which will enable the cellular company's subscribers to enjoy cheaper international calling rates.
Adviser to Zong CEO Sikandar Naqi, while confirming the acquisition of the LDI licence said, "The company is now capable of handling its international telephone traffic which definitely will enable the company to offer more satisfactory international calling rates than the existing ones."
The fourth largest cellular operator of the country with 22.3 million subscribes base, has been awarded the licence by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) against the fee that was agreed in 2008 between the PTA and CM Pak.
However, the individual international calling traffic control of Zong will come into effect later than the expiration of contracts with existing managing companies of its global calling operations.
Zong was the only cellular operator, which had not been issued the licence due to Sale-Purchase Agreement (SPA) between the government of Pakistan and Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL). Due to the SPA government was bound not to issue any new telecom licence until March 2013.
However, subsequent to expiry of the SPA, when PTA awarded the licence to Zong in November 2013, the other industry players had approached the Sindh High Court (SHC) against the issuance of the licence terming it unfair. Resultantly, the SHC imposed a hold on the issuance of the LDI licence.
Nevertheless, in the latest development, on Wednesday, SHC had removed the stay order on the issuance of the LDI licence which has translated into a good omen for Zong.
Naqi while sharing the company's plans also informed that Zong continuing its commitment towards investment in Pakistan would step to get hold of submarine telecommunications cable. Currently the company is eagerly looking for upcoming technology spectrum auction to provide more services that are contemporary to its valued users, he added.
Responding to a query regarding ongoing action against the mobile franchisers by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in Karachi, he said that the LEAs have not searched any of Zong's franchises yet due to its transparent SIM selling system.
In this regard, an industry expert said that Zong could surely take the benefits of lofty purchasing of international calling minutes by its parent company China Mobile as Zong's sponsor it has bought massive number of minutes for its China-based users.
Now, after becoming LDI licence holder, Zong can utilise intercontinental minutes of China Mobile in Pakistan, as owing to heavy buying China Mobile enjoys adequate discount in global minutes' rates, which will be helping Zong to offer most cheaper international calling rates for some exclusive countries, he added.
It is worth mentioning here that Zong is China Mobile's first venture outside of China.
Commenting on the industry's impact, the expert said that it would depend on Zong's joining of the International Clearing House (ICH) club.
It could be said that Zong, which is a leading telecom company in terms of cheaper domestic calling rates is now ready to give more competition to other operators in international calling rates section as well.
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